From the first moment SBCC Dance Company streamed onto the Garvin Theatre’s stage — a quick-paced jolt of 14 pairs of legs darting through choreographer Shelby Lynn Joyce’s newly commissioned work titled “prologue: A Sense of Human” — one got the distinct sense the company had undergone a growth spurt of tangible proportions. Perhaps a season of traveling across the West Coast to attend dance festivals and student competitions had taken its intended toll; the dancers looked poised and professional as never before while cutting across eight dance works from seven distinctive choreographers over the course of a two-hour program. Along for the ride was the spirited vibrancy of the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet dancers and State Street Ballet Young Dancers — as well as a knockout showing by Weslie Ching Dance in a captivating incantation of pattern and torsos in “I Don’t Exist Anymore.”
Equally palpable was the breadth of work this season’s Collective program highlighted, from a restaging of Jerry Pearson’s nostalgia-fueled and wistfully endearing “Strange Boat” to Lauren Serrano’s fresh and funky quintet titled “Dopamine,” or artistic director Tracy Kofford’s romantic and operetta-like “Silent Splendor,” featuring powerhouse performances by company dancers Daisy Mohrman, Dallin McComb, and Sarah Block.
This year marks the seventh season for Kofford’s passion project: a modestly scaled and shoestring-budgeted program that infuses experience and accountability into young artists seeking a quality and financially attainable entry into the world of professional dance. Last weekend’s program punctuated all the right things Kofford’s formula is bringing to the table, and Santa Barbara dance lovers would do well to take notice.